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Web Maester

Web Maester

Tuesday, 31 August 2021 09:06

Beehive Workshop

Free workshop at the Everson Ranch: 
How to Assemble a Beehive Box 
September 19th, 10:00 am - 11:30 am 

Learn from Don Baker, our local beekeeper, who brings 50 years of hands-on experience of beekeeping in the San Luis Valley. The art of beekeeping has been in the family for 100 years. 

This will partly be a hands-on experience. Maybe this might spark your interest in a lifelong hobby or finetuning your beekeeping skills? Bring your questions for the expert. We are grateful that Don generously is volunteering his time to take care of the bees at the ranch and for sharing his knowledge in this workshop.

Bees have been struggling, they need all the support and care we can give them now.

The ranch opens at 9:30am, the event is outside, please bring a mask.

Friday, 06 August 2021 00:50

Travel Advisory - US 285 Closure

Full closure on US 285 over South Fork of South Platte bridge replacement to begin soon!

If you are traveling from the front range to Orient Land Trust, please note that there will be a full road closure of US 285 just south of Fairplay. The detour will take you on CO 9 to Hartsel where you will turn right onto HWY 24 which takes you back to 285. Estimated time increase of 30 to 60 minutes depending on traffic. Please plan accordingly. It was scheduled to begin August 2 but has been delayed due to the mudslides on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. The work is planned to extend through November. Please click here for more information from CDOT:

There are other routes if the delay on 285 seems excessive. From Denver go south on I-25 to Colorado Springs. From the Springs you can cross the mountains:

1) Hwy 24 to Woodland Park, Wilkerson Pass, Hartsel to 285.

2) Hwy 115 to Penrose, to Hwy 50, Canyon City to Salida to Poncha Springs to 285.

From Denver, go west on Interstate 70 to Copper Mountain and Hwy 91 (Fremont Pass) to Hwy 24 near Leadville and then south to 285 at Johnson's Village near Buena Vista

If you want to check road conditions anywhere in the state of Colorado we recommend:

Friday, 06 August 2021 01:18

Looking Ahead

OLT Is looking to the future! The OLT Board of Directors is excited to announce that we are beginning our advertising to find a candidate to fill a newly created managerial position. This new position is titled Deputy Director.

Salary range: $38,000 to $45,000

Status: Exempt, Salary

Closing Date: November 30, 2021

Benefits include: An employee may be eligible for OLT group health plan coverage the first of the month after 60 days of employment depending on the hours worked and for Paid Time Off (PTO) benefits after 120 days of employment depending on the hours worked.

Dear Valued Orient Land Trust Members and Guests

The Board of Directors is seeking candidates for the Orient Land Trust's Deputy Director position. This position will report to the Executive Director. One of the primary goals of the Deputy Director Position is to be mentored by the Executive Director, and if all goes well, within two to three years the successful candidate will be promoted to the Executive Director position for Orient Land Trust.

The Orient Land Trust Mission Statement is the following: OLT is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the preservation of Valley View Hot Springs and its view shed - including natural and biological resources, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat, open space, and historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley - for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Deputy Director Position Summary: The Deputy Director works under the supervision of the Executive Director and is responsible for the successful management of OLT and its programs. OLT protects over 2,200 acres. The primary destination for visitors is Valley View Hot Springs, a clothing-optional recreational facility providing pools, camping, and cabins for land trust visitors. OLT engages in public outreach to forge a strong connection between Orient Land Trust and communities, local and wide spread; scientific and educational programs to increase visitor appreciation for and understanding of the many interrelated aspects of Orient Land Trust.

What are some of the Deputy Director Responsibilities?

· Administration/Management: Human Resources (Staff, Volunteers, Members, etc.)

· Organizational Planning: Financial Management, Regulatory Compliance and Facilities

· Outreach: Community Support, Education, Events

· Programs: Land Protection & Stewardship, Visitor Services and Educational Programs

The Deputy Director:

  • Responds as circumstances require and has flexibility regarding working hours. May be required to live on site.
  • Requires the ability to walk on rough, steep terrain at altitudes up to 10,000 feet
  • Has previous association with Orient Land Trust and clothing optional Valley View Hot Springs and/or other clothing optional resorts.

If you would like to be considered for this position please email your letter of interest and resume to the email address . Also, please be aware that this search process, including filling the position with the successful candidate, will take some time because of the unique nature of the position and search criteria. We do have more detailed job descriptions that we will share during the vetting process. We are looking forward to talking with appropriate candidates for this position and appreciate your interest and time.

Friday, 06 August 2021 01:16

Rosie to Retire

Rosie, OLT's Visitor Service Manager and Volunteer Coordinator will retire this September! Some of Rosie's accomplishments were expanding our Kids Science Camp, Volunteer Program and Educational Activities. She is also responsible for the beautiful flowers planted around the swimming pool and throughout the village. Kelley Michelle from our front desk staff will be the new VSM. Kelley has worked in visitor services since 2014 and is excited to take on the new position. Crystal England will assist Kelley with the Volunteer Program and Tina Serna with Kids Science Camp. Sabine Borchers, our Everson Ranch Garden Manager will take care of the flowers.

"It has been my joy to work for Orient land Trust these past 8 years. I have made many friends along the way and will take away wonderful memories of my time spent here. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve this community. Thank you to everyone who has been an important part of my OLT experience. Love, Rosie"

Friday, 06 August 2021 01:14

Board Musings - July 2021

From July 2021 Board Meeting

I am starting this report the week that the CDC has issued new pandemic guidelines for Americans. Welcome news to many, being able to recognize one another outside again is a real treat. There are those of us who are still very cautious, understandably. Variants, fewer than 50% of Americans vaccinated, and politics rather than public health concerns drive much of the dialog.

Personally, being older, immune compromised by a variety of age related vagrancies and vaccinated, I feel finally able to reengage with humanity. Jane and I are recognizing that after 18 months of being relatively isolated, even on a few trips, that we are now seeing that once again we are mingling. Eating out. Listening to live music. Getting back to this new normal.

Before I go too much further, I want to acknowledge those of you who have been donating to OLT throughout this pandemic - Thank You.

Visiting Valley View and the Everson Ranch continues to be a special treat. With the modest increase in the daily capacity and even a few day passes now and then, the characteristic sense of community is back. New visitors, kids, cooking in the pavilion and discussions around the picnic tables have returned with a force. Even though all is not the same - sauna closed and masks indoors - the feeling I get when I visit is the same it was before. My "plague neuroses" are finally fading.

I also thank our staff. They have been able to hold together and in fact improve this special place. Even with the reduced capacity and fewer staff, OLT is financially sound. Also fewer people and vehicles continue to let the land breathe. You really will hear more birds, see more critters and larger expanses of aquatic and terrestrial flowers.

One last thought. Your Board is alive and well and committees are meeting. The variety of opportunities to get involved are numerous. Those folks who may be interested in joining the Board at some time will find that joining one or more of our committees or task forces is insightful as well as helpful.

Respectfully Submitted,
Martin Jolley
Chair, Orient Land Trust Board of Directors

Sunday, 11 July 2021 21:05

Local Day Passes

With the recent changes in CDC and the SLV Health Administrator Covid-19 recommendations, we are updating our guidelines. Though physical distancing and mask wearing are still recommended for non-vaccinated guests indoors, they are no longer required at the pools and ponds. This makes it possible for us to consider day pass admission. We will start out slowly, by adding a small number of day passes each day and see what the impact is. Advance reservations are still required and membership to the land trust is encouraged. We will start out by offering day passes to our local Saguache County Residents. If all goes well, we will continue to broaden the availability.

There are a few new guidelines for day use:

  • Call the office and reserve your spot, please do not just walk in!
  • Be a Saguache County resident with a Saguache County ID!
  • Be a member in order to reserve in advance!
  • Day Pass hours are limited to the hours between 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm. You must check in and check out during that time period. Be sure to arrive no later than 6:00 pm and leave before 8:00 pm. Check out at the welcome center so we can mark you as departed.
  • You can reserve for yourself and your family and bring guests who are Saguache County Residents.
  • There are no discounts at this time, a day pass is $17. Be prepared to pay in advance when you make your reservation.
  • Our welcome center, sauna, dormitory and oak kitchen remain closed. Be sure to bring your own towel, food, sunblock, and other supplies.
Sunday, 11 July 2021 21:02


You are invited to conversations about bees and tea at the Everson Ranch.

The Everson Ranch has been "on pause" during the last months of Covid. Many visitors and volunteers have missed not being able to enjoy the ranch and the garden during this time. While the ranch continues to be closed for now, we are opening it up on Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25 for two presentations. The gate will be open from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm and the presentations begin at 10:00 am each day. This event will be held under a large tent for you to be in the shade and be seated at a safe distance. Please bring a mask.

Bonita Bock has shared her knowledge of bees in numerous lectures and will be the guest speaker. Joining her will be the local beekeeper, Don Baker, from Saguache. He has been tending bees for 55 years, and learned the art of beekeeping from his father in law who was a beekeeper for 50 years. We are very excited to bring these two bee experts and bee advocates together.

On Sunday, July 25, Bonita will share her knowledge about teas at 10:00 am.

Bonita Bock will present ways in which our bee population is being challenged as well as ways we can be helpful human allies to these important pollinators at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 24. On Sunday, July 25, also at 10:00 am, she will bring you the history of tea and it's diversity and importance today.

There are 900 different varieties of bees in Colorado. Far more than only the honey bee. Bees pollinate 1/3 of our diet. These complex creatures are having trouble in our environment today and we will discuss several reasons for this situation as well as efforts at mitigating their decline.

The history of tea is a fascinating tale full of surprise and intrigue to establish it as the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Where is it grown? Who drinks the most? (You may be surprised to know that it is not China!) How do we get so many varieties that all come from the same plant? And, no, herbals are not tea. They are actually tisanes. And who was Tomas Lipton?

Bonita is a retired college professor in an entirely different discipline, but with a love for life-long learning, she comes to these presentations having gleaned a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of topics as a lecturer currently for Active Minds in Denver, Colorado. She has enjoyed soaking in the Valley View Hot Springs for many years, and recently volunteered two weeks at Everson Ranch.

Friday, 28 May 2021 12:15

Sharing Pools and Ponds

OLT's Response to the Latest CDC, Colorado State and Local Health Department Guidelines, Effective May 28, 2021 

Office Hours: 

Our office is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm for reservations. 
Guest check-in time is: 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm, accommodations are guaranteed by 4:00 pm. 
Guests check out from accommodation and hot springs at 12:00 noon. 
Gates are closed at 9:00 pm and there is no admittance until 1:00 pm the following day. 

Updated Jan 29, 2022:
Our office is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm for reservations.
Overnight guests can arrive anytime between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm, Tent campers are able to get set up any time, Vehicle sites are available after 12 noon and indoor accommodations are guaranteed by 4 pm. Campsites and Accommodations must be vacated by 12 noon on the day of departure, all departing guests off OLT property by 4 pm.
Day Visitors can check-in between 11 am and 6 pm departing by 8 pm.
Gates are closed at 9:00 pm and there is no admittance or re-entry until 11:00 am the following day.

Valley View Hot Springs reopened on August 3, 2020 after being closed for four months due to the pandemic. We adjusted our guidelines in February this year in response to the winter temperatures and COVID19 situation. We are happy to report that we are now looking at changes based on the latest CDC, state and local health department guidelines. As more of us have chosen to be vaccinated, outdoor temperatures are warming and the risk of outdoor exposure to COVID19 in our environment at the hot springs is low for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests alike, our guidelines will now include the following:

  • We will continue to recognize reduced overall capacity, closures of communal spaces like the sauna, Welcome Center and will update when we can safely make adjustments.
  • We will continue to be open to guests staying overnight only, but if we are successful in the following guidelines, we hope to offer limited numbers of day passes soon.
  • Staff and Guests will not be required to be vaccinated and so we are sharing space with those that are vaccinated and those that are not. All spaces that are open will be open to all guests.
  • No sign in board at heated pools
  • Guests will be responsible to monitor their pool use as far as the number of people in specific pools are concerned (with physical distancing in mind) so even more sensitivity to others will be necessary to share the space in ways that make fellow guests comfortable and do not cause negative impacts for others.
  • Remember many of your fellow guests would still like to enjoy soaking alone.
  • Sharing space in the pools and ponds with other guests outside your reservation and household is now possible (with physical distancing in mind) and will be up to guests themselves to negotiate as their own comfort level dictates. This has always been an important component of the sharing culture at OLT.
  • Be aware of spending too much time in the smaller pools and ponds so all guests have opportunities to soak in a way they would like and be open to communicating your needs as others are responsible for doing the same. Again, this has always been an important aspect of the Valley View culture.
  • We continue to encourage adherence to quiet hours, refraining from inappropriate sexual activity and drunkenness.
  • Mask use outdoors is not required, but still encouraged around others.

Membership is required to make an advanced reservation. Depending on the benefits of your membership level you can reserve one, two or three months in advance. Non-members can reserve 24 hours in advance.

Please read our Covid Guidelines before calling and making a reservation. Many things have changed since the pandemic, so be proactive and prepared before you visit. Not all of our COVID guidelines are consistent with our community values which have evolved over the years, but we value your cooperation in taking steps to a fuller expression of those values, under the circumstances. Again, your cooperation is crucial to our being open and we appreciate your support. See the new COVID Guidelines below.

Additional Covid Guidelines thumbnail

Friday, 28 May 2021 12:11

Warmer Weather!

Even though we had a little snow in the morning this week, the weather is getting warmer. Pleasant soaking temperatures and summer are coming! More and more people are getting vaccinated and though it is still early, we may be seeing the pandemic start to fade. In the meantime, please continue to be vigilant, wear your masks around other people, and maintain some physical distance when in the pools.

We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone regarding some details that might have an effect on your plans.

Pool Cleaning

The Swimming Pool is cleaned every Wednesday and is closed for that process. The pool is closed by 9:00 AM and re-opened about 9:00 PM every Wednesday. The heated pools are cleaned every Thursday. The Apple Tree Pools are closed for a few hours every Thursday starting about 12:00 Noon and re-opening about 4:00 PM.

Warm Weather Amenities

Now that nighttime temperatures are milder, we are opening up the Pavilion sink, the outdoor sinks at the Main Bath and the Food Storage Cabin. Please bring your own dishes and pots and pans. For the short term, please bring your own bedding, pillows, and blankets. As always, bring your own towels.

Smoke Hut

The Smoke Hut is still closed. The spring winds were strong and blew it into pieces. We are rebuilding in a new location closer to the Pavilion and the Swimming Pool. For now, smoking is allowed only inside your own vehicle.


Night sky tours are resuming. Our astronomer, Mark, is going to open the observatory every other weekend. The schedule can change depending on weather and other unknowns. If you are here on one of his weekends, take the opportunity to gaze at the night sky. For the time being, we are limiting the number of people at the telescope. There is a sign-in board.

Friday, 28 May 2021 12:01

Job Opportunity

Orient Land Trust is considering hiring a seasonal employee for the Everson Ranch. If you are interested, call to receive a job description. Applications are available. Briefly, this is a seasonal, part time position of 10 to 15 hours per week. Tasks are related to animal care, gardening, fencing, and other ranch chores.

For the education, enjoyment, and well-being of current and future generations, Orient Land Trust: 
promotes a positive clothing-optional experience at all properties including Valley View Hot Springs, Orient Mine and Everson Ranch;
preserves the viewshed, including land acquisition; 
protects natural, wild, agricultural, and historic resources, in the northern San Luis Valley.